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So Larry Drew II is starting for UCLA at the point, huh? Yuck.

Sep 13, 2012, 7:43 PM EDT

UCLA v Arizona - Quarterfinals Getty Images

UCLA has quite a bit of hype heading into this season.

That’s what will happen when you bring in a recruiting class that includes two of the country’s consensus top three players.


I’m not buying it. Never have. There are a litany of problems with the Bruins, ranging from overweight centers to pieces that don’t fit well together to a lack of perimeter shooters to the potential that the aforementioned star freshmen are still being investigated by the NCAA.

But the biggest problem that UCLA faces heading into the season is at the point guard spot, and Ben Howland went on the record on Wednesday with who will start at the point:

UCLA coach Ben Howland said that North Carolina transfer Larry Drew II will start at the point. “That’s going to happen,’’ said Howland. “He’s our most indispensable player.’’

That’s not a good look for the Bruins. For starters, the only reason that Drew is at UCLA right now is that he transferred out of North Carolina because he couldn’t cut it as the starting point guard. They Tar Heels struggled mightily in 2009-2010, and while that wasn’t entirely Drew’s fault, UNC’s turnaround in 2010-2011 came when Drew was benched in favor of Kendall Marshall. All of a sudden, UNC had movement in their offense, star freshman Harrison Barnes finally found a rhythm and started hitting some shots, and the Heels eventually made a run to the Elite 8.

And now Drew is once again getting put in charge of a team where the most talented players will be freshmen?

Oh, and for what it’s worth, Drew didn’t exactly “transfer” out of the program. He up and left without so much as a goodbye. In the middle of the season. Without telling anybody. That’s Howland’s “most indispensable player”. Heckuva leader, I must say.

The problem is UCLA doesn’t really have another option. Kyle Anderson played the point at the high school level, and he is certainly a terrific passer and playmaker. But he’s also slow-footed and 6-foot-8. He can’t guard point guards. He might not be able to bring the ball up against point guards, either.

This just doesn’t seem like a group that fits together out in Westwood.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

  1. caseybojangles - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:14 AM

    saying the guy is worthless because he couldn’t make it at unc is the absolute dumbest and laziest analysis ever. sometimes one team, program, coach, chemistry, style of play, relationship with other players just doesn’t work out and has nothing to do with the player.

    by your idiotic logic, all players who don’t succeed at on one team should suck it up and stick with that team…but he wasn’t that good anyway. ummm…shaq left orlando as it didn’t work out and went to the lakers and won a few rings. chemistry with kobe hit the crapper and went to miami and won another ring. i can name countless players who didn’t do well on one team but did well on another.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:48 PM

      So, you didn’t watch him play at UNC then? Also, your analogy of Shaq “not doing so well” in Orlando or in the end with the Lakers is the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever heard. I feel that I don’t need to explain why as it is plainly obvious.

      • caseybojangles - Sep 14, 2012 at 9:04 PM

        oh, i see…you’re a UNC coach? you were on the team, maybe? you know something that no one else knows? because if your premise is that merely watching a game(s) is enough to know what happened and why a particular player performed the way they did, then you, my friend, are an idiot.

        i never said the guy killed it or was a surprise or awesome or anything like that at unc. yes, he did not do well. my premise is that *perhaps* it wasn’t 100% him. sometimes things don’t work out on a team for whatever reason and players just do better on another team. what happens if he dominates play with UCLA?

        by this asinine logic, lamar odom and pau gasol are crappy players…or maybe the team or system they played in last year wasn’t good for them and they just need to move on.

        your conclusion is appropriate if he sucks as well at UCLA. then you have a common result while changing other things.

    • moegreenseye - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:36 PM

      This guy quit on his team and coaches, he lost his starting job to a better more talented player. Someone who could actually run the team and the fast break, Instead of fighting for his position back or better yet more playing time, he tucked his meat between his legs and ran way. He quit on his team when they needed him, he deserves whatever criticism comes his way.

  2. reggie1178 - Sep 14, 2012 at 7:19 AM

    I do hate to say this, but after watching his 3yrs at UNC, in a starting role and as a leader, he sucks. He lacks leadership, he does not communicate, he will turnover the ball at a very high rate, especially in crunch time, then he has a crazy mother you have to deal with, but other than that he can play good defense in a limited role. He is no starting pg.

  3. latchbeam - Sep 14, 2012 at 7:53 AM

    Holy crap, take it easy on the kid!?! A little harsh??

  4. ecs1948 - Sep 14, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    Hello Mr. Dauster and basketball fans,

    Don’t you just love how we all can comment on and even predict the futuret? I love to number crunch and forecast with the best of them. However, I’ll leave negative “campaigning” and character asassination to politicians and those wonderful commercials.

    I recall some past UCLA coaching by John Robert Wooden that included never promising freshman playing time (of course they could earn it), and that a player earns starting roles, with the liklihood of a starting role as an upperclassman. Is Larry Drew II an upper classman? Did he earn the role in part by practicing with the team with no chance of playing during the year he had to sit out due to tranferring from NC? Right now is Mr. Drew the PG player with the most seniority at the PG position?

    And for every negative comment about Kyle Anderson made by Mr. Dauster, I can envison a positive comment by reporters addressing Mr. Anderspon as “Magic” Anderson before this freshman season is over. I’ll simply wish for no injuries, that eveyone becomes eligible, that all players accept and execute what I’ll Coach Howland’s “Defense First” approach, and that another Bruin, Mr. Mohammad, enjoys home cooking in Las Vegas at the Pac-12 Tournament there in his hometown. Personally, I’ve already booked a room one long block from L.V.’s MGM Grand Arena.

    Can we judge the team a little more on what they do, and not on what we think they will do?

  5. ctsmithiii - Sep 14, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    At least LDII’s momma is happy now.

    Good luck Bruins.

  6. dlmzzz - Sep 15, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    The reality is that Drew and Anderson are each half of the prototypical point guard. Anderson can run the offense, but he can’t defend point guards. Drew can defend point guards, but he’s not so great at running an offense. Paired together, they might be able to divide responsibilities and make that work.

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